Managing deliberate self-harm in young people: An evaluation of a training program developed for school welfare staff using a longitudinal research design

Robinson, Jo; Gook, Sara; Hok Pan Yuen; McGorry, Patrick D.; Yung, Alison R.
January 2008
BMC Psychiatry;2008, Vol. 8, Special section p1
Academic Journal
Background: Although deliberate self-harm is prevalent among young people, many who engage in deliberate self-harm receive sub-optimal care. Although schools are a well placed setting to support young people who engage in self-harm there are no specific training packages designed to assist school welfare staff to support these young people. The current study aimed to design, deliver and evaluate a training course specifically for school staff. Methods: The study employed a longitudinal design. Two hundred and thirteen people participated in the training and evaluation. A questionnaire was administered at baseline, immediately after the training and at 6-month follow-up in order to determine if the training led to improvements in confidence when working with young people who self-harm, perceived skill, knowledge of, and attitudes towards people who self harm. Results: Prior to the course, the majority of participants demonstrated relatively high levels of confidence, perceived skill and knowledge of self-harm and endorsed relatively positive attitudes towards people who engage in self-harm. Despite this, significant improvements were observed in terms of increased confidence, increased perceptions of skill along with increased knowledge of deliberate self-harm. These improvements were sustained over the follow-up period. Conclusion: The results demonstrated that the provision of specifically designed training can help school welfare staff to feel better equipped to support young people who are engaging in deliberate self-harm.


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